I’m confused by this title. I feel like the author forgot an Oxford Comma. Shouldn’t it be Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe? Or is the Mistletoe just created out of Prejudice? Anyway, here we go. Another shameless grasp on the Janeite fans this Christmas. This one stars Lacey Chabert as the Darcy character, and some guy as Lizzie.
It’s New York – blatantly filmed last year because it hasn’t snowed that much this year to have snow in Central Park. But we get NY’s greatest Christmas hits, from Rockefeller Center to those big red balls on 6th Ave before we head back to Canada for the outside dialogue. Darcy Fitzwilliam brings her local outside coffee guy a gift card, and offers to help him invest his money, because his son got into Stanford. She’s some kind of financial advisor, always available, even though she’s headed out of town for the holidays. Her office has 2 different Christmas trees in it. She has a very important client named Mark Spencer (which, incidentally, is the name of a Target-like store in the UK, so way to be creative in the names here, people! They name-check him twice in one minute, so I’m sure he’ll be important down the line. She also has an ex-boyfriend named Carl (hey Caroline Bingley) from whom she needs a break, and is headed home to help her mom plan a Pemberley League Auction something something.
Off she goes home to Ohio, but there’s something shady going on in this investment firm – her Sassy partner is kind of brushing off her concerns. And she also finds out that mom invited Carl to the whole thing back in Ohio, and cue the awkwardness, he’s going to pick her up at the airport. Carl is annoying in 2 seconds. Darcy needs space and she’s just not going to get it from Mr. I Do Believe We Were Meant To Be Together.
Darcy’s mom is looking for a caterer for this Gala thing, and Luke Bennett is the caterer, and wins Ms. Fitzwilliams’ mom over with his turkey pot pie. They don’t discuss fees or contracts, but Luke is overjoyed at the opportunity. Why are people so impractical in these movies?
Mom and Darcy start backstory on why they have to plan the Auction (no one cares) and how magical Christmas at Pemberley is, and there’s something called Pemberley Carols and Darcy likes hot chestnuts, and the big ticket item they’re going to auction off are custom-made Christmas trees. Considering that this Auction thing is going to be on Christmas Eve, isn’t that just kind of, underwhelming, and not the best thing to put into a Christmas Eve Auction? What about a spa for New Year’s, or a Weight Loss Plan for your New Year’s Resolution, or a vacation for January to get away from Ohio (which I’m sure is lovely, but it’s probably a slushy mess in January). Ugh. I should be planning this Auction.
Darcy has a best friend named Kaylee, a very bubbly blonde. (Hey Bingley!) She’s in love with Jim Bennett, whose brother is Luke Bennett – and Darcy and Luke had a debate club rivalry in high school, and hey, “not tolerable enough to tempt me.” So off Darcy and Kaylee head to Luke’s tavern. Luke and Darcy’s banter is so flirty but they can’t see it yet.
Apparently, Darcy has a weird relationship with her dad, who wants her to come to Ohio and work for him, as opposed to starting a new firm in NYC. Dad’s a nudge about wanting Darcy to be in Ohio.
Mom is introducing Darcy to Luke the caterer – although why doesn’t she realize that if Darcy and Luke were on the debate team in high school? A flub in the writing. Luke’s all about how “Darcy and I always made a great team” and Darcy is not about that. Luke’s ideas about the Auction thing are in contrast with what Darcy wanted, and Mom is clueless that they have such raging unspoken passion underneath the surface for each other, and is forcing them to work together. And can I say that Luke is acting like a mansplaining douchebag about winning their debates. I do not like Luke that much right now, and that sucks because the OG Lizzie Bennett is an amazing character who is NOT a douchebag.
Darcy finds a small store owner who is trying to be an interior designer – and this is again making Darcy have the ‘thinking’ face about how she wants to help the little guy. And we also get Luke and Carl meeting each other, and they both do that guy thing where they meet their rivals. It was even in The Flash this week when Green Arrow met Superman. (Check it out here – it’s awesome.)
Uh-oh, Darcy’s company is having a partner’s meeting, and she’s not invited. Her loyal assistant has clued her in, and she’s planning to ambush the meeting via video conference. Can’t wait to see what that’s going to be like!
Kaylee is throwing a “White Elephant” party at Luke’s tavern. I don’t know what this is. It looks dumb, but everyone seems to be having a good time, and Luke almost gets Darcy to open up about all the stress that is her life, but she stiff-upper-lips it and says no. And as she heads out the door, they get stuck under the mistletoe, and while he’s game for a little lip-action, she says don’t hold your breath and heads out the door, mostly because Luke doesn’t understand the significance of a mistletoe kiss. Is there special significance?
Darcy’s brother, Parker, and sister-in-law show up, announce their upcoming baby and makes Darcy question her life even more. Why is his name Parker if they’re going all Pride and Prejudice with the names? Why isn’t his name George? This is so dumb. Anyway, Darcy says she’s unsatisfied with her life, and Parker and his life wisdom says she’s looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. #mood.
Another problem with the Auction – no designer for those fancy trees. Someone is going to have to go talk to that small business owner from 15 minutes ago. Luke is there with his manly truck – they’re going to get more trees for the foyer. And for reasons unknown to us, but its based on character development, she’s too proud to accept help from the big guy who can pick up trees without knocking the whole lot over like a large green set of dominoes. Why can’t she accept help? Because she’s a Fitzwilliam – no one is ever going to accept that she didn’t earn her place because of her family name, so she has to work extra hard. And Luke has to work extra hard because he’s from the poor side of town, or whatever. But their shared realizations mean that they’re not so different after all.
Darcy crashes the partners’ meeting, and is given the ultimatum to get on board with their vision of not helping poor people get financial stability, or they’re going to sever ties. Yikes.
Finally, Darcy heads to that small business owner who agrees to decorate the trees, and she calls Luke to assist because now she’s ok with it. And it comes out that Darcy likes to help people, and they’re going to caroling at Pemberley Carols, which apparently is just like Christmas Land in that lame movie, but smaller, and with less people. And with less singing talent. But Darcy is happy because they have the roasted chestnuts, which honestly, sound gross.
Darcy and Luke have more in-depth conversation – he had a great relationship with his dad (who died) and because of that, Luke has to grab onto all the opportunities when they come along, don’t miss it. And uh-oh, they’re sitting underneath the mistletoe again. What is it with this town? If we’re taking “Baby It’s Cold Outside” off the radio, surely we can ix-nay on the istle-toe-may all over a small town. But regardless of this sentiment, Darcy kisses Luke on the cheek.
Ticket sales for this Auction are down, and so Luke has the great idea of doing an email blast – and why didn’t anyone do that any time sooner? Parker’s wife says she’s not allowed to climb or lift anything or eat sushi – when she’s trimming the tree, she can’t be on a stepladder – and she’s not that far along so who is her doctor? But they also do that “aaaa” when they turn the lights on the tree, so yay.
Darcy’s business partner is trying to poach her clients, (all together now, THAT BITCH) and loyal assistant Erica is giving her the heads-up. We get another reference to Mark Spencer, and Darcy’s determined face is on, she’s not going to take this lying down. She tells Luke her troubles, but she doesn’t say anything about it to her parents.
Mrs. Fitzwilliam is being called in front of the Pemberley League Board – maybe because of the low ticket sales? But it’s a charity – why aren’t they doing more for it? Is this how the Junior League operates? Color me glad I’m not in that! The Auction benefits the Children’s Something, who now have a choir, and more marketing stuff happens. Luke says he’ll waive his catering fee, and Darcy realizes that Luke is awesome, when he’s done being a douchebag about winning.
You know who is a douche? Carl. He’s sweet-talking Darcy’s dad (his boss) about getting some kind of new client, and I bet you anything it’s Mark Spencer – or it could be a red herring. You never know. (Edit after the fact – it’s a red-herring).
Luke and Darcy unload decorations from the car and have an impromptu flirty snowball fight. That isn’t a good use of their time. Thank goodness all those ornaments are in Rubbermaid containers. And more Tree Trimming, but this time it’s under a designer’s watchful eye, until it gets interrupted by Sassy Assistant Erica who has more bad news about clients jumping ship from Darcy. Carl says he’s there for her, but I bet he’s really there for her client list.
Late night pie eating with her dad. There are WAY too many Christmas lights in the kitchen – they are even over the sink. Again, isn’t that a fire hazard. Jeez, Darcy, tell your Dad what’s going on with her job. But no, she has to get all existential and asks her dad if “he’s happy.” And he also says “walking away isn’t a sign of weakness, sometimes it’s a show of strength.” Ok, maybe he does know what’s going on with her company. He also wants her to marry Carl, so maybe Dad doesn’t always know what’s up.
Darcy helps Luke cook all the food, and does that flirty giggle and hair flip that all girls do. And then they have another heart-to-heart about doing what you love. You know what, Hallmark? Sometimes people can’t always do that. Sometimes you have to do what you can in order to live your life and have dental. Again we have this conversation. I don’t want to have to tell you again.
Darcy is playing what dress should I wear with her friend Kaylee, who also sees a light inside Darcy that is plainly labeled “Luke Bennett.” But Darcy is like nope, nope, nope.
Oh NO! The Auction will not have any servers for this thing, so Darcy’s family has to step up, including preggo sister-in-law, who still runs 3 miles every day and is ok to wait tables for an evening, but not to climb up a tiny stepladder. You know what, I’m not even mad at this inconsistency. Pregnant ladies are allowed to do whatever. I got out of carrying the laundry for 9 months. I am annoyed that I haven’t figured out what Parker’s wife is named. And they also manage to enlist the kids from the Youth Something to wait tables. And just because we know they’re rich, Darcy, her mom, and sister-in-law have people there to do their hair and makeup. Oh well, whatever.
She’s going to come down the stairs and Luke is going to sigh in 3 – 2 – 1 SIGH! Why is she carrying a clutch in her own house??????
Mark Spencer Shows Up at the Auction! He’s happy with all the money she made him, and she just told him she’s quitting her job, but he’s going to let her keep managing his money – which means she’s going to move back to Ohio, right? She’s overflowing with so much emotion about her life-changing decision, but we have about 15 minutes left, and one has entered The Sad Times, and Carl is still there looking weird, so am I alone in thinking something else is going to happen?
There’s dancing at this Auction thingy. We just found out her sister-in-law’s name is Monica. But before Darcy can tell Luke she wants to stay in Ohio, they get blocked by Carl who pulled the “Your mom needs you,” ruse to get her alone in the kitchen. And of course Luke overhears Carl pour his heart out to Darcy and of course, he doesn’t hear her say anything in response to this because of SAD TIMES.
Luke has to get some air, but he has to tell Kaylee what he overheard and Kaylee is like, you’re so not right about that, dude. But we don’t get any resolution on this because of the commercial break.
After the break, Darcy and Dad have another conversation. She also lays down her rules for coming to work for her dad in Ohio, and they are all about philanthropy. So she’s in Happy Times, but she doesn’t know that Luke is upset until she finds Kaylee and now she’s going to miss the main part of the Auction in her quest to rescue Luke out of the Sad Times. But magically, he just shows up outside just as she was going to get in a car and search for him.
How could she get back together with Carl when she’s crazy about someone else, Luke? I mean, really! And they are magically standing under the mistletoe – and just as he’s about to give a treatise on why mistletoe is important (Ancient Rome, anyone?) she lays a smooch on him and we’re done.
This was also a book first. I really hope the book had more Pride and Prejudice than this movie had, because, like Christmas at Pemberley Manor, the only thing about P&P in this movie were the names and some of the banter. No real plot devices. There wasn’t even a Lady Catherine! Or a Mr. Collins! How do you have a movie or book with P&P in the title and not have anything remotely resembling the plot? Bone to pick with writers and adapters everywhere. This could have been a fine Hallmark installment without any reference to Jane Austen, but again, they’re tapping into the Austen audience to gain viewers, and I fell into their trap.
Anyway. I watched it. You’re welcome. I did it for you – just so you don’t have to.